By Bob Schaller//Correspondent
Cammile Adams keeps improving. The native Texan helped A&M continue its surge upward in the echelon of women’s swimming, no small feat considering the Aggies migrated to the intense SEC. The 2012 Olympian isn’t about to slow down, either. With her college degree in tow, she’s at Mare Nostrum now, and plans to give it all she’s got in the run-up to 2016, as she explains in this week’s 20 Question Tuesday.
1. How’s swimming going?
Cammile: It’s been going well. I just made the move to Charlotte for the summer time. So I am living with a host family and loving Charlotte.
2. What’s the transition like, training at SwimMAC?
Cammile: Training is a little different than at A&M. We have plenty of aerobic work but we’re also mixing things up, and I like that – it’s just so fun mixing things up.
3. Yet you still have your A&M coaches working with the staff at SwimMAC – how cool is that?
Cammile: I feel like I have the best of both worlds. Someone like (Texas A&M coach) Steve (Bultman) who is so supportive of my dreams and what I want to do with the sport. He saw I needed a little bit of a change, and he knew I had never left Texas before. It was a growing opportunity for me as a person and he was so supportive. He and David always get along great.
4. What’s it like being coached by legend David Marsh?
Cammile: Getting to train with David is unique because every day is something so new. It’s an awesome team of people up on the coaching side, people who are really, really supportive, and great coaches on deck. The training group out here has gotten bigger, so it’s very different from when I was here (training) last summer.
5. What’s that SwimMAC swimmer lineup like?
Cammile: It’s a blast. You have Ryan (Lochte), Cullen (Jones), Tyler (Clary) among a great group of guys, and Emma Reaney from Notre Dame, who has been so much fun to hang out with. We also have the incredible Kathleen Baker here, and she is just 17 years old – so she has (laughs) a lot more energy than I do! Kathleen and I actually do quite a bit of training together, which includes Pilates every week. Once a week we do it all together as a group, but then Kathleen and I do it, just the two of us, once per week – so we’re kind of attached at (laughs) the hip so far. But Kathleen and I are both extremely flexible, so we can do a little more of the balance stuff and maintain that flexibility, and use all that in the pool. Cullen and some of the others guys are also there, as are the talented women like Micah (Lawrence) and Arianna (Vanderpool-Wallace). Pilates really transfers well to the pool, and it’s something I had never really done much of until I got here last summer and I just feel it gives me something extra.
6. You are so fun to talk to because of how much you like to travel – is the travel something you like that much?
Cammile: Right, yes, it is. I honestly kept in the sport, in part, because of traveling. In high school, I wasn’t really in love with the sport yet, and kind of went through the motions at times on a daily basis. I had shoulder surgery going into my freshman year of college, so I wasn’t sure where swimming was going to take me. Making (the National) Junior Team – I was able to go on a junior team trip every year of high school, trips that took me to see a different parts of the world, and it helped me learn to love the sport more and realize everything it had brought into my life. I am very grateful for those trips, because at that time and where I was in my mindset, I don’t know if I would have stayed in the sport.
7. You also got to hang with one of the coolest people in swimming, Jack Roach, right?
Cammile: Jack Roach is wonderful. He also comes on National Team trips. He has this simplistic view – kind of like breaking it down to basics, I mean – toward life but he also understands this level of athlete. He’s such a cool person to talk to, and everyone loves him. He’s done so much for me, and him being part of the program when I was on the junior team really helped shape my love for the sport going through high school.
8. You looked so happy in Scotland at the Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool, is that another love-of-traveling thing?
Cammile: I was honestly having so much fun! It was a weird time for us, because there we are in December, and we have done a little bit of Christmas training already, and then I get a chance to be on another one of those teams representing USA Swimming. That trip was different than any other experience in my life – for me, it was almost as exciting as the Olympics. It was such a close group, and such a team effort. There were a lot of National Team members missing from that meet, and a lot of people had to step up, which was great. We all were finding ways to go fast. That last relay was just so exciting – I will remember it forever. And Scotland was great, I think even more wonderful than any of us could have expected, just tremendous.
9. You finaled at the Olympic Games, no small feat, you’ve said you “want more” – what does that mean?
Camille: I was obviously very happy to make a final swim but at the same time when you represent Team USA, you want more. That’s my big push and focus, remembering that feeling of watching the team do so well. Kathleen (Hersey) was fourth and I was fifth, and I think about that on a daily basis, how it felt to watch that medal ceremony and how hard it was, when the rest of Team USA was earning medals. That’s given me such an awesome drive the past nearly two years, and I think that will continue the next two years.
10. What kind of mentorship have you received in the fly?
Camille: I have had so many mentors. Misty Hyman has been great, letting me bug her (laughs) about fly things, send her videos…she’s always willing to chat, and I am so blessed to have such a wonderful person like her in my life. Growing up, I wanted to be just like Misty. She presented my medal at Olympic Trials, and I got tears in my eyes as soon as I saw her.
11. You were able to have Coach Bultman at the Olympics, how cool was that?
Cammile: It was definitely cool. It’s really cool to go on National Team trips the way they divide you into groups with different coaches, and our group of seven trained under Steve. When everyone else was tapering and we were still in the water, it’s not the (laughs) most fun experience, but at camp we had the huge slide and you saw the Call Me Maybe video being filmed – that added so much in terms of atmosphere and a positive vibe to camp. I don’t think anyone thought that video would get that many views (more than 30 million). Kathleen (Hersey) and the ones who put it together really came up with one of the greatest bonding things for a team, ever.
12. So you are off to Europe?
Cammile: Yes, and I absolutely love it – I am the kind who gets excited just for packing! I love to go other places and see what people’s daily lives are like – there are so many things you don’t experience here in the USA. I stayed until Closing Ceremonies in London and got to see all the sights. A bunch of girls stayed with us and my twin sister Ashley was there, so it was really cool.
13. What do you do on trips?
Cammile: I just like to see new things, and look at life from different perspectives. When I come back, it has me even more excited for training.
14. You are an education major, does that fit in with the travel?
Cammile: It does. In fact, when we were in Russia, my Mom asked me, “Why do you spend so much time with the kids?” I literally can’t stop watching them and seeing how they interact, it’s just fascinating, especially across cultures. Being a little kid is – or should be – such a freeing time in one’s life. There are not as many consequences as what comes later, and that’s what drew me to major in education, because I don’t plan to end up teaching. My sister Ashley is (almost completely) deaf, and never learned sign language, she just learned to read lips really well. She got hearing aids in college and that worked out well, but she still enjoys going without them a lot of the time, because it heightens her awareness and other senses that developed to compensate for (not being able to hear). It’s like a person who needs glasses, sometimes they just want to take them off, and not depend on them all time – so my sister looks at deafness the same way, as a blessing, not a curse – that’s the phrase she uses. You can tell when she’s bored or tired of listening, she just (laughs) takes her hearing aids out.
15. So that spurred your interest in deciding your college major?
Cammile: Yes. I think I would love to work with kids who are deaf and get into speech pathology after swimming and work with kids who have speech challenges, and learn sign language.
16. You have a close family and your Dad swam – how much have your parents helped you on this journey?
Cammile: Oh my goodness, my Mom is my best friend in the whole world. The move to SwimMAC was the hardest thing – just the part of leaving her. She’s just extremely supportive and we are so alike in so many ways. She kind of gets me and my swimming. Eddie (her Dad) is the man, he coached us growing up until we were about 10, but he’s always great to have around the pool deck. The greatest part of making the (Olympic) team was seeing my sister, who means so much to me, and my father, who also swam and I knew what it meant to him.
17. A&M just becomes this dominant team in college swimming – what’s it like to be part of that group?
Cammile: We can’t say it’s all us because we have had all the support from the athletic department at A&M, the staff, and the academic environment the school creates. Having Breeja (Larson) and our whole senior class and people like Sarah Henry just took everything to the next level, and that’s what the program needed. The girls group is such a close-knit team, even with so many different personalities and interests. Also, having (assistant coach) Tanica (Jamison) there was great because she was one of my heroes growing up – it was so cool to see her pool record and mine up at the University of Texas when we swam there.
18. Breeja is just such a great talent and has such a commanding presence, doesn’t she?
Cammile: What’s great is we don’t have a lot of similarities on what we enjoy outside of the pool, but we get along great as teammates and friends. She has a much different background in the sport, and to be able to work with someone like her and see the improvement we made is such a great experience.
19. What’s it like having Michael Phelps back competing?
Camille: It’s definitely exciting. Michael has done so much for the sport, and so much for the National Team. Watching him training for 2016 and watching him train this summer is so motivating. It’s been really cool to be part of the sport during his era, watching him make history, and getting to be in a close environment to see him do these incredible things.
20. What’s it like being on the team with young stars like Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky:
Cammile: I know Missy a little better and she is one of my favorite people all the time. She has so much energy, and you “cannot not” be happy around her. You have a smiling face. Katie is just amazing. I got to train a little bit with her – but thank the Good Lord it was a little bit and not a lot (laughs) because she’s quite the trainer – she is just awesome!. She was in my suite in London, and she has such a good personality and is so fun for someone so young, and she has such an interesting sense of humor.